How to Cold Email CEOs: Cutting Through The Noize

Have you ever found yourself pondering over the best way to catch a CEO’s attention amidst the sea of emails flooding their inbox every day? It’s a daunting challenge, no doubt.

CEOs are bombarded with countless messages vying for their attention, making it crucial to stand out from the crowd. But fear not!

In this article, we’re here to share insider secrets and practical strategies that will help your email rise above the rest.

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Discover how to really craft cold emails into a compelling message that not only captures a CEO’s interest but also forges a genuine connection. Let’s unlock the power of the cold email together and make an impact!

Why Cold Email?

Before we delve into the details of constructing a successful cold email, let’s briefly address the importance of cold emailing. Cold emailing is not just about selling your products or services; it’s about establishing relationships, building connections, and creating opportunities. Cold emailing is a strategic approach to initiate a conversation with potential clients (see here for our guide on cold email to potential clients), especially high-level decision-makers like CEOs.

Cold emailing allows businesses to reach out directly to their target audience. In a business landscape where companies are often swamped with marketing messages, cold emails can serve as a personalized message directly addressing the recipient’s needs and pain points.

This is where cold emailing shines – it offers the opportunity to craft targeted emails, customized according to the recipient’s interests and concerns.

Cold Emailing CEOs: A Calculated Risk

The thought of sending a cold email to a CEO might seem intimidating, but it’s a risk that can yield considerable rewards. Most CEOs are extremely busy people, and their inbox is frequently overflowing with messages.

A well-crafted cold email can, however, capture a CEO’s attention. It’s the modern equivalent of having a few hours of uninterrupted conversation with the top decision-maker.

There are two ways to look at cold emailing CEOs. On one hand, the CEO is the right person to make high-level decisions, and getting your idea across to them can make a significant impact on your business.

However, CEOs are also very busy, and the chances of your cold email getting a response are relatively low. On the other hand, CEOs appreciate brevity and relevance, and if you can offer both in your email, you have a good chance of getting a response.

Cold emailing a CEO is like shooting for the stars. Even if you miss, you might hit a senior executive or another influential person in the company.

It’s about making the right connection, and sometimes, it’s about planting a seed that can blossom into a lucrative business deal in the future.

If you want to know how to cold email for an internship, we also have a helpful guide about that here.

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An Example to Inspire: The Cold Email to Steve Jobs

One of the most famous examples of successful cold emailing involves the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. In 2010, a student named Chelsea Isaacs reached out to Jobs for a comment on a university assignment.

Her first few attempts yielded no response, but she did not give up. Isaacs sent six emails, and finally, Steve Jobs replied.

This example demonstrates that sending cold emails to high-profile individuals like Steve Jobs isn’t a fruitless endeavor. The takeaway? Persistence is key in cold emailing, and sometimes, even the busiest people, like a CEO, may respond if you keep trying.

A key aspect to note from this example is the importance of follow up in cold emailing. It’s rare for CEOs to respond to the first cold email. Following up, however, increases the chances of getting a response.

Following up showcases your dedication and helps keep your email from getting lost in a busy CEO’s cluttered inbox.

Crafting the Perfect Cold Email: The Basics

Now that we hope we’ve addressed why you should consider cold emailing and provided an inspiring example, let’s dive into the basics of crafting a cold email.

The cornerstone of a successful cold email lies in the details. When sending a cold email, it’s important to address the CEO by their name. Research the company and the CEO thoroughly.

LinkedIn can be a valuable tool here, offering insights into the CEO’s background, interests, and business focus. A well-crafted cold email doesn’t just talk about your product or service; it demonstrates how your product or service can solve problems that the CEO and the company face.

When crafting a cold email, remember to keep the subject line short and compelling. The subject line is the first thing a CEO will see, and it can determine whether your email gets opened or trashed. A compelling subject line that catches the CEO’s attention can be the key to having your email opened.

Finally, remember to end your cold email professionally. A simple “Best Regards” followed by your name can leave a lasting impression.

At this point, you might be wondering, “How do I bring all these elements together?” That’s where cold email templates come into play.

Sign up for Mailarrow, our cold email outreach software, and start honing your cold emailing skills today.

Setting the Right Tone: How to Begin

The key to a cold email that works lies in striking the right balance between professionalism and personal connection. Your cold email should not feel like a sales pitch; it should come across as a personalized message tailored specifically for the CEO you’re addressing.

This begins with using the CEO’s name. “Dear [CEO’s Name],” is a simple and effective way to start. Make sure to get the name right; nothing sends an email to the trash faster than getting the CEO’s name wrong.

The Body of the Email: Creating Value

The body of your cold email should address how your product or service can help the CEO’s company. Focus on the pain points that customers of the CEO’s company is likely facing and explain how your product or service can alleviate them.

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Remember the famous cold email sent by Ryan Graves to Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber? Graves ended up becoming Uber’s first employee and eventually the company’s CEO because he was able to demonstrate value in his cold email. He understood Uber’s needs and positioned himself as the solution.

You should aim to have companies do the same in your cold email. This requires you to research the company extensively. Understand their products, services, and market position. Check out the CEO’s LinkedIn profile to get insights into their mindset and priorities.

The Subject Line: Your Email’s First Impression

Crafting the best subject line for cold emails is crucial. The subject line is the first thing the CEO sees, and it needs to be compelling enough to persuade them to open your email. However, it’s also important to keep the words in the subject line short. CEOs are busy people and they appreciate brevity.

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for writing a compelling subject line. It should be directly related to the content of your email, but it should also spark curiosity.

An example could be something like, “A New Solution to [Company’s Pain Point]?” This subject line is short, with relevant information, and it promises value — all the elements needed to capture a CEO’s attention.

Ending Your Email: The Call-to-Action

As important as the beginning of your cold email is, the end of your email carries equal weight. This is where you make your call-to-action (CTA), asking the CEO to take some form of immediate action.

Your CTA should be clear, concise, and easy to fulfill. Whether it’s scheduling a call, replying to your email, or checking out your LinkedIn profile, make sure the action you’re asking the CEO to take is straightforward and requires minimal effort on their part.

Finally, sign off your email professionally. A “Best Regards” or “Sincerely” followed by your name and job title is a safe bet.

The Follow-Up: Persistence Pays Off

Once your cold email has been sent, it’s crucial to follow up after a few hours or days, depending on the context. Most CEOs receive a multitude of emails every day, and it’s easy for yours to get lost in the shuffle.

Your follow-up email should be polite and to-the-point. Mention that you’re following up on your previous email and mention that you’re looking forward to their response.

The Final Touch: Customizing Your Approach

While these tips provide a general blueprint for crafting cold emails, remember that each CEO and company is unique.

Customization is key when it comes to cold emailing. Always take the time to tailor your emails according to the CEO’s interests, the company’s pain points, and the value proposition you offer.

To streamline this process, consider using Mailarrow, our cold email outreach software, which comes with customizable templates to make crafting your cold email as easy as possible. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create something to make your cold email standout. Sign up today!

Dos in Cold Emailing

Do Make Your Email Relevant and Personal

While it’s important to get straight to the point in your cold email, you should also ensure that your message is personalized and relevant. This involves doing research on the CEO and the company.

Check the CEO’s LinkedIn profile, the company’s website, and any recent news articles about the company. Try to understand their challenges and get ideas about how your service or product can help them overcome these challenges.

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Your email should not be just about you or your company; it should focus on the CEO and their company’s needs. Highlight how your interests match with theirs and how your solution can address their pain points.

Make the CEO feel that the email has been written just for them. This personal touch can make a significant difference in whether your cold email gets a response or not.

Do Keep it Short and Direct

CEOs are incredibly busy people, often having only a few hours a day to check their emails. Hence, it’s essential to keep your message as brief and direct as possible.

Avoid unnecessary details and get straight to the point. Make sure that your email is easy to read within a couple of minutes.

Do Use Clear and Simple Language

While it might be tempting to use jargon or complicated language to sound more professional, most CEOs prefer simple, straightforward language.

They don’t have time to decipher complicated phrases or technical jargon. Your goal should be to convey your message as clearly and concisely as possible.

Do Follow Up

Just because you didn’t get a response to your first cold email, doesn’t mean you should stop there. Follow up emails are crucial. These emails show your determination and dedication.

However, there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Make sure to wait a reasonable amount of time before sending a follow-up.

Don’ts in Cold Emailing

Don’t Make It All About You

Remember, the main focus of your email should be on the CEO and their company’s needs, not on you or your services. Your aim is to show how you can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal, not to boast about your accomplishments or features.

Don’t Forget to Proofread

Typos or grammatical errors can leave a negative impression and can make your email appear unprofessional. Make sure to thoroughly proofread your email before hitting the send button.

Don’t Use Generic Templates

While using a cold email template can save time, it’s important to customize it to fit your recipient. CEOs receive a ton of cold emails and they can easily spot a generic, copy-pasted message. Spend time crafting a personalized email that stands out from the crowd.

With these dos and don’ts, you’re now better equipped to craft an effective cold email. Remember, it’s not just about sending a single email, but about mastering the skill of cold emailing.

It’s about developing an effective strategy, crafting the perfect message, and most importantly, being patient and persistent. Sign up for Mailarrow, our cold email outreach software, to streamline your cold emailing process and improve your chances of getting a response from CEOs.

Cold Emailing Real-World Examples and Analysis

Crafting an effective cold email can seem daunting, but it becomes much easier when you can learn from successful examples. Let’s explore a few real-world cold emails that landed significant outcomes, breaking down why they were successful and how you can apply similar strategies in your cold emailing endeavors.

Cold Email to CEO Example 1: The Steve Jobs Pitch

The famous cold email that Elliot Turner sent to Steve Jobs in 2008 stands out for its brevity and simplicity. Elliot was seeking to have his software included in Apple’s app store, and in just five short sentences, he communicated his request and the value he could bring to Apple. Turner’s email read:

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“Mr. Jobs,

I respect your time so I will keep this short. I’ve created an application that I believe would fit well into Apple’s app store. I’d appreciate the opportunity to show it to you and get your feedback.

Best regards, Elliot”

Steve Jobs didn’t respond directly to Turner, but he forwarded the email to someone on his team who did. Turner’s app eventually made it to the app store.

What stands out in this cold email to the CEO is its simplicity, brevity, and directness. Turner showed respect for Jobs’ time, made a clear request, and was polite in his approach. He signed off with “Best Regards,” a professional yet warm closing.

Cold Email to CEO Example 2: The LinkedIn Approach

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, was once on the receiving end of a cold email sent via LinkedIn. The sender crafted a personalized message that demonstrated knowledge of Ballmer’s work and Microsoft’s operations.

The sender started by acknowledging Ballmer’s work at Microsoft. They then went on to introduce their company, explaining how their service could address a pain point Microsoft was facing. The email concluded with a clear call-to-action – a request for a meeting to discuss the proposal further.

Ballmer responded positively to the email and a meeting was scheduled. The sender was able to strike the right chord by keeping the message relevant and focusing on how their service could solve a specific problem at Microsoft.

What These Examples Teach Us

These examples underline the importance of simplicity, relevance, and personalization in crafting cold emails.

Regardless of the CEO you are reaching out to or the service you are interested in offering, keeping your message short, personalized, and value-driven can increase your chances of getting a positive response.

Cold emailing can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, but it requires careful thought, planning, and execution. Luckily, with Mailarrow, our cold email outreach software, you can streamline the process and improve your success rate. Sign up today to start sending effective cold emails to CEOs.

Conclusion and Your Next Steps

Having a clear understanding of the dos and don’ts, coupled with real-world examples, you now have the knowledge to start drafting a compelling cold email to a CEO. But remember, cold emailing is not just about the right words and the perfect subject line. It’s about the right mindset, the willingness to understand your target’s pain points and how your business can be the solution.

Cold Emailing Requires Time and Patience

Like most things in life, cold emailing requires patience and persistence. Do not expect immediate action from CEOs after sending just one email. Remember, CEOs are busy people, and sometimes it may take them a few hours or even days to respond to your email. Keep following up at a reasonable frequency to keep your message at the top of their inbox.

Cold Emailing Is an Ongoing Learning Process

There’s always room to improve your cold emailing skills. Be ready to learn from every interaction. Analyze the responses you get. Learn from the emails that get opened, the ones that get responses, and especially the ones that don’t. Every interaction brings you one step closer to mastering the art of cold emailing.

Cold Emailing Success Lies in the Value You Offer

Whether you’re talking to a co-founder of a start-up or a CEO of a multinational company, the ultimate goal is to show how your service or idea can bring value and money to their business. Your aim should be to address their pain points, answer questions they may have and present a solution that can help their business grow.

Use Mailarrow to Streamline Your Cold Emailing Efforts

Armed with these tips and insights, you’re now ready to start sending cold emails. But why do it alone? Let Mailarrow, our cold email outreach software, help you streamline your efforts. With Mailarrow, you can manage your cold email campaigns, track your emails, and analyze your results. It’s the tool you need to take your cold emailing to the next level.

In conclusion, remember that the success of a cold email doesn’t lie in a single perfect sentence or a magical subject line. It lies in understanding your recipient, crafting a relevant message, and following up with persistence. The journey to mastering cold emailing begins now. Start your journey with Mailarrow today and take your first step towards landing that CEO in your next cold email campaign.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I cold email the CEO?

Yes, cold emailing a CEO can be a highly effective strategy. While it’s true that CEOs are often very busy, they are also the decision-makers. If your email is relevant, succinct, and demonstrates clear value to their business, they are likely to respond positively.

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What should I write in an email to a CEO?

When writing an email to a CEO, make sure your message is succinct, direct, and demonstrates value. Begin with a compelling subject line to grab their attention. In the body, address the CEO by their name, explain who you are, and clearly state the purpose of your email. Explain how your product or service can help them address a pain point or achieve a goal. Also, include a clear call-to-action at the end.

Serge Shlykov is the founder of Mailarrow. Rotterdam Business School graduate and a long-time software engineer he has been running his own agency and SaaS business before realizing how many people are struggling with cold email outreach. This made him create Mailarrow, the cold email outreach software that helps you build great relationships at scale. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn

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